When we head out to the course to enjoy a round of golf with friends, family or co-workers, we typically decide on playing some sort of competitive game within our group. Often times we play stroke play, match play or perhaps even a scramble. But did you know that there are many, many more options for you and your group to choose from? Below is a list of our eight favorite formats for a fun, competitive round. Let us know which one you like best or are looking forward to trying!
Nassau: This classic setup for a match works in a fairly simple manner. It is essentially three matches within a full round of golf: a frontside, backside and overall match. Players determine a wager amount for the game, and that wager applies to all three of the matches. For example, if the players in the group decide on a “$5 Nassau”, then the frontside, backside and overall match are each worth $5. Match play is typically the standard approach to Nassua, although there’s always room to tweak an already fun format. Nassau’s can be a great way to play competitively for golfers of all skill levels and ages.
So, For example: You win the backside and overall match but lost the frontside to your opponent. You would have won $10 in your victories and lost $5 for the frontside loss, netting you $5 in winnings.
Dots: When playing “Dots”, all of the players will decide what type of shots or situations allow a player to earn a “dot” during the course of the round. In most cases, dots will be awarded for the following reasons: a birdie, an up & down for par or better, a sand save for par or better, a putt for par or better from outside of the pin’s length, etc. Oftentimes, players will add a few creative variations of how to earn a dot to add a little pizazz to their game, i.e.: a par save or better after hitting a tree somewhere on the hole (we call this a lumberjack), or a closest to the pin dot on a par 3. No matter what you decide on, Dots is a fun way to make your round much more interesting.
At the end of the round, the player with the most dots on their scorecard wins, and each player with fewer dots owes the winner the difference in their dots value. So, if you finish with 9 dots valued at a dollar each and your partner finishes with 5 dots, he/she would owe you $4.
Note: A player can collect more than one dot at one time. For example, if you earn a birdie on a par 5 after finding a sand trap, you would receive two dots. Make your birdie putt on that hole from outside of the pin’s reach, and you would receive three dots.
Bingo, Bango, Bongo: In this set-up, there are three points to be had on each hole. The first point goes to the player to be the first one onto the putting green. The second point goes to the player to be closest to the hole once on the putting green. The final and third point is awarded to the player who’s able to get the ball in the hole first. The player with the most points at the end of the round wins.
Bingo, Bango, Bongo is a fun way to spice up a round for golfers of all skillsets and groups of all sizes.
Wolf: Perhaps our personal favorite, Wolf is the ultimate game of strategy. Golfers have a number of options on each hole and can find themselves playing one vs. three or two vs. two. So, how does it work? First, each player is set to rotate honors for each progressing tee (regardless of score). Also, each player must have at least one opportunity to be first on the tee on both a par 3 and par 5.
Players rotate being the “Wolf.” The player designated as the “Wolf” on a hole gets to choose whether to play the hole 1-vs.-3 (himself against the other three players in the group) or 2-vs.-2.
And if the Wolf chooses to play 2-on-2, he must choose his partner immediately following that player’s drive. Example: Player A is the Wolf.
Player B hits a bad drive. Player C hits a pretty good drive. If the Wolf wants C as a partner, he must claim his partner before Player D tees off.
The side with the lowest better ball score wins the hole. If it’s 2-on-2, then the winning side wins the bet. If it’s 1-on-3, the Wolf wins double or loses double.
There’s also Lone Wolf, in which the Wolf announces before anyone tees off – including himself – that he’s going it alone, 1-on-3. On a Lone Wolf hole, the Wolf wins triple or loses triple.
In Wolf, you’re always changing teammates and approaches to each hole to give yourself the best chance to win. It is without a doubt a great way to break up some monotony that can come with the same old games.
6-6-6: In this format, a foursome plays three separate matches so that each player has an opportunity to partner with every player in the group. Each match consists of six holes with teams rotating until everyone has played on one another’s team. This game can be fantastic for when there may be a player with much more or less skill than the other players so as to balance the outlier. Also, it makes it more entertaining in that no one feels as though they simply got the short end of the stick during the round.
The 6-6-6 format can be a great way to spice up a round and get some competitiveness flowing out on the course.
Bisque: A fairly simple take on the typical golf match, Bisque allows players who are receiving strokes from fellow competitors to allocate those strokes to whichever hole(s) he/she would like. This gives players a better chance to utilize a strategy in tune with their game while also making for a few pressure holes here and there.
5-3-1: Another fun take on a points game, 5-3-1 is a format that allows for easy and fair scoring within threesomes. Each hole is worth a total of 9 points with 5 points being awarded to the player with the lowest score, 3 points to the player with the second lowest score and 1 point to the player with the highest score on the hole. In the event of a tie, the points are averaged among the players tied. At the end of the round, the player with the most points is the winner.
This game is fun in that it’s designed for threesomes, can be played during 9 or 18 hole rounds and allows everyone a chance to compete regardless of the occasional blowup hole.
Takeaway: In this fun and somewhat unconventional game, two players face off in standard match play. The kicker is that when a player wins a hole, he/she earns the ability to remove one of their opponent’s clubs from their bags and can use it themselves. Make a run and enjoy watching your opponent try and keep up with your drives as they’re relegated to their 5-iron. Or, give them headaches in their short game and stockpile their short irons and wedges.
Takeaway is always a great time and can be a fun, stress free way to compete with friends.